The Center for the Media of the Jewish People was established in 1985, as part of the Humanities and Social Sciences faculties at Tel Aviv University. It has been named in honor of Andrea and Charles Bronfman since 2001, as part of the faculty of Humanities. Since 2015 the center is named in honor of its founder, Shalom Rosenfeld.
The Center work is aimed at furthering interdisciplinary research on the history of Jewish journalism and media in all their linguistic and ideological variety. This includes the study of the processes by which the media operate and how members of the media have acted within or toward Jewish society over the course of more than 300 years, beginning with the appearance of the first Jewish newspaper (the Gazeta de Amsterdam in 1672) up to today's daily newspapers and magazines, electronic media and hypermedia (the Internet) in Israel and their equivalents abroad.
The Jewish press, which throughout the course of history hasreflected the ever-changing multicultural and political Jewish problem, has notonly been witness to the processes of modernization within Jewish society butalso heralded them and fought for them. It has also made significantcontributions by standing up to protect Jews' human and civil rights asindividuals, and by articulating the Jewish condition up until the establishmentof the State of Israel and to this very day. In doing so, despite thelinguistic, cultural, and political variety in Jewish communities across theworld, it contributed to the consolidation of their shared consciousness inspite of their dispersion and the various ways in which the Jewish peopleexisted: as a religion, as an ethnic group, and, in the State of Israel, as anationality. As such, it serves as a source for understanding historical andsocial processes in modern Jewish history.
The goal of the Center is to encourage research dealing with the various periods and aspects of this history, and to publish some of the results in the semiannual periodical Kesher and in research books published by the Center. The Center initiates and encourages Israeli and international activity in advancing research and in collecting and publishing data on the Jewish media. It holds academic conferences in Israel and throughout the world as well as lecture series for public audiences.
Past and present directors of the Center are:
- The late Shalom Rosenfeld, one of Israel's foremost journalists and
recipient of the 1987 Israel Prize for journalism. He is the founder of the
Center and served as Director from 1985-1998.
- Prof. Michael Keren, Director, 1998-2003
- Prof. Yosef Gorny, Director, 2005-2011
- Prof. Yaacov Shavit, Director, 2012-2015
- Prof. Meir Chazan, Director, 2015-